Italian telenovelas inspire Susana H. Case's new collection of personal probing poetry.
In "Love Stories for Girls" which opens Susana H. Case's new poetry collection, she declares, "Every distortion I learned about love / came from romance comics, / and later, telenovelas." So perhaps inevitably she has taken the format of those Italian soap operas as the model for this work, but in doing so she sets out to correct those distortions and to take on love and life with clear-eyed honesty. Imagined telenovela scenarios are interspersed among episodes drawn from her own life, blurring the lines between fact and fantasy - as if to say, aren't we all living in our own soap operas? As in her previous books her talent for compelling narrative is informed by her sociologist's eye for the details of now real people interrelate, but more than ever here she turns that gaze on her own life. Which is why it is so good to read in the "sort-of love poem" that closes the collection that "the foolish girl who thought / she might be alone the rest of her life... ended up / fine, happy even." Isn't that how we want every story to end?
"This is the good one I've been waiting for: tough, funny, unapologetic, powerful poetry written with skill-- but without determination--to go where it wants--each story about the brutal heart made beautiful by a poem. Not since the metaphysical poets has 'LOVE' been used with more cunning in the ability to show its opposites. These poems cross continents, characters, and situations, with adventure and story, proving that poetry can be riveting as well as revered. Now I want Susana H. Case to write a novel, but I would want her lyricism, cadence, esthetics on the page; so maybe better yet, another book of poems. Until then, IF THIS ISN'T LOVE will be read and shared many times."--Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laureate
"In IF THIS ISN'T LOVE, Susana H. Case serves up sass and sincerity in poems that navigate male/ female power dynamics often mistaken for 'love.' Her renderings of the sleaze of a pimp, a sexy Zorro, Elvis's pelvis, and the over-the-top romance of telenovelas lead way to the intimacies of divorce, abortion, a cross-dressing ex, heartache, and scandal. Case's poems are by turns harrowing and hilarious as they explore the delights and undersides of passion."--Denise Duhamel, author of Second Story
Poetry. Family & Relationship. Women's Studies.